For starters, Petopia is a wonderful site for identifying pets. It has a wealth of information on potential pets’ colors, abilities, levels, attack speeds, locations, etc. It is an essential site for all Hunters.
How do I teach my pet new abilities?
New abilities are first taught to you, not directly to your pet. Once you know an ability, you can then teach it to as many pets as you wish, as long as the pet is of sufficient level, is the correct species and has enough “training points.”
You learn new abilities from Pet Trainer NPCs and from various beasts. The Pet Trainers are found in the capital cities and mid-level villages and teach only the Growl ability and improvements to your pet’s armor, health, and resistances. These abilities can be learned by all pets.
All other abilities are taught to you by various tameable beasts. A pet’s species (bear, wolf, cat, etc.) limits which abilities it can learn, so you have to pick a species that fits your needs. Each pet starts off with some sort of ability, so let’s use Bite as a common example. While your pet may know only Bite 1, there are other beasts out there that know higher ranks of Bite, among other abilities.
Every ten levels, your pet will be able to learn the next higher rank of its species’ abilities. Using Petopia as a guide, identify a beast that knows the ability and rank you wish to teach your current pet. Now, stable your current pet and go tame the one that knows the ability. Once tamed, fight a few mobs, and as the pet’s ability is triggered, you’ll learn it. After you get the message, “You have learned a new ability…” you can abandon this pet and get your old one out of the stable. With the pet summoned, open your Beast Training window and teach it the new ability.
Why isn’t my pet gaining experience?
Pets of equal level with you won’t gain experience.
For maximum efficiency, tame a pet shortly after you level up, and get one a level below your own. E.g., given the choice of taming a level 19 or 20 beast, a hunter who just turned level 20 should choose the level 19.
How do pets gain loyalty?
The short answer is your pet will gain loyalty as it gains experience. More precisely, it seems to me that a pet’s loyalty increases faster when fighting something that would give you experience (this only matters if your pet is many levels below you). Furthermore, it seems that a pet gains loyalty at a reduced rate, or possibly not at all, if it’s not gaining experience. Someone with more patience than I can test this. To be sure, sitting around with your pet fed, but not doing anything, isn’t a satisfying way to increase its loyalty. I’ve spent many hours fishing with a happily fed pet beside me, and it didn’t gain any loyalty.
How do I train my pet?
The Beast Training button, which could be more accurately named, is somewhat strangely located in the General tab of your spell book. It looks like an old-fashioned slingshot. With your pet summoned, click the Beast Training button and a tradeskill-type window will open, showing you the abilities that you can teach to your pet along with the “training point” cost of each.
You don’t need to teach a pet each rank incrementally; that is, you can skip from Bite 1 to Bite 3 without you or your pet learning Bite 2 so long as your pet is of sufficient level and has enough “training points.”
The point cost of each ability assumes that you haven’t learned any previous ranks. For example, if rank 3 costs 25 points, but you already know rank 2 at 15 points, to upgrade will only cost the difference: 10 points. It would be nice if this was calculated for you, but it isn’t. So, unless you want to do the math, train the skills important to you first, and then use up the rest of your points with less important skills. As an example, I want my pet to do as much DPS as possible, so I first train the extra attack abilities (Bite, Claw, etc.) to their maximum level, then use the rest of the points on health and armor, and finally on resistances.
If you have more than one pet, say a DPS pet and a Tank pet, you can focus their training on different things and maximize their strengths for each purpose.
Good luck, and good hunting.